A pregnancy announcement in my family initiates the transfer of the Baby-Rockin’ Chair. It’s a simple wicker rocker built with a short seat and legs that readily embrace the weary female frame seeking solace and solitude or stealing precious time to cuddle and adore. The wide chair arms comfortably support the occupant’s arm cradling a sleeping baby’s head. The rockers provide a gentle sway with the faint squeaking of wicker marking a cadence.
Without the story or shared experience, the beloved Baby-Rockin’ Chair’s beauty fades, leaving a merely functional plain piece of furniture.
The chairs now on view in the Woodson Art Museum galleries are works of art – displayed on pedestals much like sculpture. Visitors can interpret and admire the color, texture, space, shape, and lines of the chairs. The chairs also have stories to tell. The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design surveys aesthetic trends, social and cultural developments, emerging technology, and ergonomics.
Discover the stories in the galleries and then venture to Art Park – the Museum’s interactive family gallery – and create new stories. The Design Lab is fueled by your imagination and helps you build a chair prototype. Play the xylophone and bongo chairs. Or take a spin in the Spun Chair.
Reminisce about your favorite chair and add to the Recline & Consider Design wall. Take a walk in the sculpture garden; take a seat on Heavyweight (Burt Brent’s happy hippo) or Prince Marvin (Geoffrey Dashwood’s larger-than-life frog). And before leaving, pose in the oversized purple Adirondack chair, take a photo, and share on social media, including #bigwoodsonchair
The Baby-Rockin’ Chair soothed at least four generations of children and mothers in my family. I hope the next generation remembers to tell the story, keeping the chair’s beauty fresh and relevant.